COACH Simon Goodwin says co-captain Jack Viney’s 38-disposal performance, in Melbourne’s three-point win over the West Coast Eagles at Domain Stadium on Saturday night, was nothing short of outstanding.
Although Goodwin was full of praise for Viney – who led Melbourne as sole skipper, in the absence of the injured Nathan Jones – he said the tenacious ball-winner would be assessed during the week after injuring his shoulder.
Viney was forced to the rooms with the injury, but later returned to lay a bone-jarring bump on opposing skipper Shannon Hurn. Goodwin couldn’t speak highly enough of the hard-at-it Demon.
“He was enormous, Jack. He went off with a shoulder [injury] for a little while and he had 26 contested possessions for the night,” he said.
“He’s just an incredible player around the contest and he was unbelievable, as our skipper.
“He was a little bit sore – he was off for 10 or 12 minutes, so we’ll have to assess him during the week. But the courage that he showed to come back on and play the way he played was very good.”
Livewire forward Jeff Garlett and silky-skilled Christian Salem both suffered hamstring tightness and will also be monitored, said Goodwin.
“We’ll get them assessed. We knew this was going to be a really difficult part of our season – our consecutive six-day breaks and we’ve got another one coming up. But we saw this as an opportunity to really gain some momentum,” he said.
“Our VFL team is in some really good form, so we’ve got some players there that we can bring into the team.”
Goodwin said Garlett was tight in his hamstring and couldn’t run at top speed.
“He did a great job for us to carry on for a period of time,” he said.
“In the end, we took him off because it was getting a bit hard for him.”
But Goodwin was rapt to have ruckman Max Gawn back in the side.
“It was great to have the big man back and it didn’t necessarily convert to clearances and scores from stoppages,” he said.
“Our centre bounces were a little bit down in that phase of the game, but it was just great to have the big man available.
“It gives us options forward of the ball, in our forward line, and he’ll be better for the run.”
Goodwin said forward Jack Watts (hamstring) was likely to return against the Swans at the MCG this Friday night. If he plays, it will be his 150th game.
“We do [expect him available for next Friday night’s game against the Sydney Swans at the MCG],” he said.
“He wasn’t too far away this week, but once again, we’ll assess him during the week.
“At this period of the season, we’re not going to take any risks with a player and that’ll be the same case this week”
Reflecting on the win, Goodwin said it was one of the best he’s been involved in at Melbourne.
“It sits right up there, based on the fact that we’re travelling away from home against a really good footy club – in an environment where we haven’t won for a long, long time, so it rates right up there,” he said.
“I think the group is building a lot of belief and a bit of momentum, and that’s terrific for our footy club. It’s great for our supporters to see a team that continues to find a way to get into the game.”